Brooks and Krugman

Bobo’s become even more delusional than before.  In “Time for a Realignment” he babbles that by 2031 you may well have switched political parties.  Right.  Should I be alive in 2031 (and I SINCERELY hope I’m not going to be) the odds that I’ll become a Republican are about the same as my being elected Pope.  Prof. Krugman considers “Donald Trump’s ‘Big Liar’ Technique” and says he thinks he won’t get caught.  Well, if nobody ever holds his feet to the fire…  Here’s Bobo:

There’s a good chance many of you will be switching political parties over the next 15 years. You may be a corporate executive who’s voted rock-solid Republican for decades, but you may be a consistent Democrat by 2024. You may be an African-American community activist in Cleveland, but don’t be surprised if you someday call the Republican Party home.

The fact is that political parties can swap constituencies in unexpected and dramatic ways. Over American history there’s been a general pattern: a period of party stability; then some new issue comes to the fore that divides the country in new ways; old party coalitions fall apart and new ones emerge.

African-Americans were once Republican, but the Great Depression brought economics to the center and F.D.R. lured them the other way. New England professionals were once Republican, too, but the rise of Barry Goldwater-Ronald Reagan Sun Belt conservatism turned them Democratic.

We seem to be at one of those transformational moments now. Something bigger is afoot this year than the relative deficiencies of Trump and Clinton.

In the first place, many of the existing partisan mentalities are dying out. This is the last presidential election in which two baby boomers will be running against each other. In the years ahead, politics will no longer be defined by the hidden animosities of the Vietnam era, by the sexual revolution/culture war issues of the 1970s.

Future candidates will not be nostalgic for some white America of ancient memory or the union-heavy labor markets of the 1950s. They’re not going to be fired up by the “paradise lost” hot buttons that excite the old guys who watch Fox News.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

That is to say, the most important social divide today is between a well-educated America that is marked by economic openness, traditional family structures, high social capital and high trust in institutions, and a less-educated America that is marked by economic insecurity, anarchic family structures, fraying community bonds and a pervasive sense of betrayal and distrust.

These two groups live in entirely different universes. Right now each party has a foot in each universe, but those coalitions won’t last. Before too long the politics will break down into openness versus closedness, dynamism versus stability, what Ronald Brownstein of The Atlanticdescribed in 2012 as the Coalition of Transformation versus the Coalition of Restoration.

The Republican Party is now a coalition of globalization-loving business executives and globalization-hating white workers. That’s untenable. At its molten core, the Republican Party has become the party of the dispossessed, not the party of cosmopolitan business. The blunderers at the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable bet all their chips on the G.O.P. at the exact instant it stopped being their party.

Now imagine a Republican Party after Donald Trump, led by a younger candidate without his bigotry and culture war tropes. That party will begin to attract disaffected Sanders people who detest the Trans-Pacific Partnership and possibly some minority voters highly suspicious of the political elite.

The Democratic Party is currently a coalition of the upscale urban professionals who make up the ruling class and less-affluent members of minorities who feel betrayed by it. That’s untenable, too. At its molten core the Democratic Party is the party of the coastal professional class, the 2016 presidential ticket of Yale Law and Harvard Law. It’s possible that this year the Democrats will carry every state that touches ocean.

Just as the Trump G.O.P. is crushing the Chamber G.O.P., the Clinton Democrats will eventually repel the Sanders Democrats. Their economic interests are just different. Moreover, their levels of social trust are vastly different.

We don’t normally think that politics is divided along trust lines. But this year we’re seeing huge chasms depending upon how much trust you feel toward your neighbors and your national institutions. Disaffected low-trust millennials see things differently than the Hollywood, tech, media and academic professionals who actually run the party.

This sort of divide is being replicated all around the world. The distinctly American feature is race. If the Republicans can drop the racial wedges — which admittedly may be a big ask — and become more the party designed to succor those who are disaffected from the globalizing information age, then it might win over some minority voters, and the existing party alignments will unravel in short order.

Polls suggest Democrats will win among college-educated voters and Republicans among whites without college degrees. The social, mental and emotional gap between those two groups is getting wider and wider. That’s the future of American politics. Republicans are town. Democrats are gown. Could get ugly.

“Could.”  Gotta love that…  As usual, “gemli” from Boston, who by rights should have Bobo’s job, has something to say to him:

“Sorry, Mr. Brooks. If Republicans could change their spots, they’d have done it by now.

The Great Depression brought greed to the center, not economics. F.D.R. didn’t “lure” the abused and desperate masses to the Democratic Party. He rescued them from robber barons and sweatshops, massive income inequality, starvation wages, unemployment and penniless old ages.

Nothing has changed. Republicans are still trying to rip apart the social safety net as they replace the New Deal with the Raw Deal. They’re still on the wrong side of reality, denying science and thumping bibles while they disparage women, gay people, minorities and foreigners, all the while hoarding money and letting the country’s infrastructure crumble.

It’s no accident that Donald Trump is the spokesman for the party with nothing to say. He gained the attention of the right when he fostered lies about Obama’s birth and legitimacy, and was embraced by a Tea Party faction that had commandeered the government.

Trump wasn’t an aberration. He was chosen from a dismal array of 16 Republican candidates who exemplified the ignorance, intolerance and greed that the party of Lincoln now represents. Which candidate would have better represented the aspirations of ordinary Americans? Bush? Carson? Huckabee? Jindal?

Republicans strive to undo every progressive initiative that we fought for over the past century. There is no indication that they’re going to change their tune any time soon.”

Now here’s Prof. Krugman:

Long ago, you-know-who suggested that propagandists should apply the “big lie” technique: make their falsehoods so huge, so egregious, that they would be widely accepted because nobody would believe they were lying on that grand a scale. And the technique has worked well for despots and would-be despots ever since.

But Donald Trump has come up with something new, which we can call the “big liar” technique. Taken one at a time, his lies are medium-size — not trivial, but mostly not rising to the level of blood libel. But the lies are constant, coming in a steady torrent, and are never acknowledged, simply repeated. He evidently believes that this strategy will keep the news media flummoxed, unable to believe, or at least say openly, that the candidate of a major party lies that much.

And Wednesday night’s “Commander in Chief” televised forum suggested that he may be right.

Obligatory disclaimer: No, I’m not saying that Mr. Trump is another Hitler. More like Mussolini. But I digress.

Back to the issue: All politicians are human beings, which means that all of them sometimes shade the truth. (Show me someone who claims to never lie, and I’ll show you someone who is lying.) The question is how much they lie, and how consequentially.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Hillary Clinton has been cagey about her email arrangements when she was secretary of state. But when you look at what the independent fact-checkers who have given her a “pants on fire” or “four Pinocchios” rating on this issue actually have to say, it’s remarkably weak: She stands accused of being overly legalistic or overstating the extent to which she has been cleared, but not of making major claims that are completely at odds with reality.

Oh, and it barely got covered in the media, but her claim that Colin Powell advised her to set up a private email account was … completely true, validated by an email that Mr. Powell sent three days after she took office, which contradicts some of his own claims.

And over all, her record on truthfulness, as compiled by PolitiFact, looks pretty good for a politician — much better than that of any of the contenders for the Republican nomination, and for that matter much better than that of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is in a class of his own. He lies about statistics like the unemployment rate and the crime rate. He lies about foreign policy: President Obama is “the founder of ISIS.” But most of all, he lies about himself — and when the lies are exposed, he just keeps repeating them.

One obvious question going into Wednesday’s forum was whether Mr. Trump would repeat his frequent claim that he opposed the Iraq war from the start. This claim is demonstrably false: His only documented prewar remarks on the subject support the war, and the interview he likes to cite as evidence of his prescience took place more than a year after the war began. But he keeps saying it anyway; if he did it again, how would Matt Lauer, the moderator, respond?

Well, he did do it again — and Mr. Lauer, who used about a third of his time with Mrs. Clinton talking about emails, let it stand and moved on to the next question.

Why is it apparently so hard to hold Mr. Trump accountable for blatant, in-your-face lies? Part of the answer may be that journalists are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of outrageous material. After all, which Trump line should be the headliner for a news analysis of Wednesday’s event? His Iraq lie? His praise for Vladimir Putin, who“has an 82 percent approval rating”? His denigration of the American military, whose commanders, he says, have been “reduced to rubble”?

There’s also a deep diffidence about pointing out uncomfortable truths. Back in 2000, when I was first writing this column, I was discouraged from using the word “lie” about George W. Bush’s dishonest policy claims. As I recall, I was told that it was inappropriate to be that blunt about the candidate of one of our two major political parties. And something similar may be going on even now, with few people in the media willing to accept the reality that the G.O.P. has nominated someone whose lies are so blatant and frequent that they amount to sociopathy.

Even that observation, however, doesn’t explain the asymmetry, because some of the same media organizations that apparently find it impossible to point out Mr. Trump’s raw, consequential lies have no problem harassing Mrs. Clinton endlessly over minor misstatements and exaggerations, or sometimes over actions that were perfectly innocent. Is it sexism? I really don’t know, but it’s shocking to watch.

And meanwhile, if the question is whether Mr. Trump can really get away with his big liar routine, the evidence from Wednesday night suggests a disheartening answer: Unless something changes, yes he can.

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One Response to “Brooks and Krugman”

  1. Russian Sage Says:

    A classic case of the ends justify the means. He’s capitalizing on ignorance but some people believe his self deception has been repeated so often he believes the exaggerations. He can then convince the public the monster is not only under the bed, but it’s in the group of people whom u already hate. Difficult proposition to stand up to facts? Only if u want to hear what Hillary is saying. And fundamentally she has been drowned out by decades of repetition. The echoes of his lies are in the innuendo of Romney and Bush and Reagan and Nixon. He is trouble. Of that there is no doubt. Look how deftly the Ailes resignation was handled eliminating Fox News from the battleground. In fact Fox News and Murdoch distanced themselves from Trump from the beginning. The race has just begun. None of the players will change their tune. It’s up to Hillary and her team now.

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